Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about another medical condition, the mumps.
In the twenty ninth episode of The Simpsons, Bart’s Dog Gets an F? (Season 02, Episode 16), Lisa has to miss school because she has the mumps. While at home, Marge teaches her sewing. Lisa tries her hand at making a patch on the family quilt. Lisa’s patch is a tribute to her two musical influences – Dewey Largo and Bleeding Gums Murphy. However, much to the chagrin of Lisa and Marge, Santa’s Little Helper chews the quilt apart.
But have you ever wondered what the mumps is?
Mumps is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus. It is a viral infection that primarily affects saliva-producing parotid salivary glands that are located near your ears. Mumps can cause swelling in one or both of these glands.
Initial signs and symptoms often include fever, muscle pain, headache, poor appetite, and feeling generally unwell. This is then usually followed by painful swelling of one or both parotid salivary glands. Symptoms are often more severe in adults than in children. About a third of people have mild or no symptoms.
Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure and resolve themselves after 7 to 10 days. Rest is the best treatment. There’s little your doctor can do to speed recovery. Symptoms can be eased with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Complications may include meningitis (15%), pancreatitis (4%), inflammation of the heart, permanent deafness, and testicular inflammation (which uncommonly results in infertility). Women may develop ovarian swelling (but this does not increase the risk of infertility).
Mumps is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among people living in close proximity to each other through infected saliva (which prompted Homer to tell Lisa she has the kissing disease). Many of you hockey fans like Wookie and myself may recall the 2014 outbreak in the National Hockey League that affected over a dozen players on 5 different teams, including Sid the Kid, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mumps was very common until vaccination became routine. While vaccination practices vary from country to country, the mumps vaccine is usually given as a combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) inoculation. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended before a child enters school and are typically given when the child is between the ages of 12 and 15 months and between the ages of 4 and 6 years.
Now that we’ve learned more about the mumps, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
And don’t forget to vote in this weeks Bracket Battle!
Have you ever heard of mumps? Have you ever had mumps? Do you know anyone who has had mumps? Did they experience Lisa-like symptoms? What’s your favourite Simpsons illness reference? What about your favourite Simpsons Santa’s Little Helper related episode? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.